Ryanair crew start the third strike of the summer in Spain, with the largest call for strikes in the company's history. USO and Sitcpla have put forward five months of strike from this August 8, from Monday to Thursday included during each week until January 7. The mobilization seeks that the airline guarantee minimum rights in labor legislation, such as annual vacations and the minimum wage, and that it reinstate the 11 workers fired during the June and July strikes, in addition to lifting almost 100 other disciplinary files. The unions also denounce that the company has recovered one of its pressure maneuvers on the workforce: threatening letters to workers on medical leave.
This is how Ryanair threatens its workers for their medical leave: "I hope to see an immediate improvement in their assistance"
USO explains that, in this context of strike, the Irish airline has sent "dozens" of letters to cabin crew who were on sick leave, after Ryanair had "stopped sending them for a while", indicates the union .
The Irish multinational sent letters to workers who are absent due to illness, after the fourth leave in a period of one year, as published this media in November 2019 and recognized the company itself.
"For a time Ryanair stopped using these cards, it was exposed," says Ernesto Iglesias, a USO representative, who believes that the multinational stopped using this strategy due to the bad image in the media. Then came COVID and the restrictions on flying, without the unions having detected this problem again. Until now, during the strike.
The unions count “dozens” of letters of this type, like the one illustrated in the photo in this article. At the moment, in addition to other types of illnesses, "there are crew members who have withdrawn due to anxiety, due to the pressure situation and threats that cabin crew have," explains Ernesto Iglesias, USO representative.
Ryanair, to a person on medical leave: "We hope to see an immediate and significant improvement in your attendance at work, otherwise disciplinary action may be necessary
In the letters, a Ryanair manager warns the affected person that he has accumulated four casualties in the last year. “I will continue to monitor his absences. We hope to see an immediate and significant improvement in your attendance at work, otherwise disciplinary action may be necessary as irregular attendance places unfair pressure on your colleagues and Ryanair operations."
The unions assure that there are crew members who are summoned to disciplinary meetings for this reason, in which "they are asked about the reasons for medical leave", something illegal, since the causes are part of the right to intimacy and privacy of people workers.
elDiario.es consulted Ryanair on Friday about these letters, but so far has not received a response.
Ten flights canceled this Monday
The strike began this Monday, August 8, with the cancellation of "ten flights", as reported by the unions at 9 in the morning. The flights affected by the cancellations have been between Barcelona and Milan, Menorca, Rome and London, round trip, as well as between Palma de Mallorca and Hamburg, also round trip.
As for delays, the most affected airport is Palma de Mallorca, with a total of 14, followed by Malaga (13) and Barcelona (7), summarizes the Europa Press agency.
After two rounds of stoppages in June and July, Ryanair has not approached USO and Sitcpla. The Irish airline insists that the stoppages are having a "minimal" impact, affecting "1% of the flights" that the company operates. The unions put the canceled flights in June and July at "319" due to the mobilizations, despite minimum services that they consider "abusive", decreed by the Ministry of Transport.
USO and Sitcpla are the unions with which it had established a negotiation to agree on the first collective agreement for Ryanair crew members in Spain. Since 2019, the situation had stalled, with little progress and conflicts in the courts, with numerous rulings in favor of the unions for labor abuses such as the illegal transfer of workers, violation of the right to strike and an invalid ERE, among others.
The unions have reiterated their willingness to speak and meet with the company, as well as to call off the strikes if they comply with the minimum points they claim.
Lidia Arasanz, responsible for USO at Ryanair, affirms that the workers' representatives sent several emails to Ryanair to have a meeting in the two previous strike calls. "We have only received in response threatening letters to the strike committee and the union delegates, telling us that we were under investigation," she points out. Even so, "we do not close the doors" to negotiations, says Arasanz.
From USO they demand that the Minister of Labor and second vice president, Yolanda Díaz, "take a step forward" and intercede for the workers before the company. "It's a pretty serious matter," they consider in USO, which asks the Government to mediate between the workforce and Ryanair.